Fortuna Theater

1241 Main Street,
Fortuna, CA 95540

Unfavorite 3 people favorited this theater

Showing 14 comments

DavidZornig on January 10, 2016 at 8:54 am

Circa 1935 photo added of the original Fortuna Theatre courtesy of Terry Koenig. “When A Man’s A Man” starring George O'Brien on the marquee.

Mikeyisirish on November 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

A July 4, 2010 photo can be seen here.

larrygoldsmith on November 17, 2013 at 10:24 am

Wonderful restoration of this old theatre… However, that ugly, huge clock behind the candy counter needs to go.

Adam on November 16, 2013 at 11:00 am

Never been but looks like old fashion style my kind of theater lets band together and buy it.

TLSLOEWS on November 28, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Nice to see that they still have their vertical sign.

sunnyfortuna on November 28, 2009 at 10:53 am

During the Fortuna Theater’s renovation, the cleanup crew ran across a reel of film dating back to 1937. It showed the old location of the Fortuna Theater and also contained footage of the new theater building which was still under construction. This film had been commissioned by the local merchants and was filmed by the Alexander Film Company. It was produced by the Blache' Screen Service in San Francisco as part of their “Buy at Home” series which promoted local small town commerce. CinemaWest graciously made the 22-minute film available in digital format. The Fortuna Downtown Merchants web site is here, where you can read more about this film and also view it.

Robert Allen
Robert Allen on August 20, 2009 at 12:42 am

I was in that place in the 90s and there is not room for six auditoriums. They would have been better off restoring it as a single screener or at the most twin it. But that’s “The more screens you have the better” mentality of many theatre owners today.

kencmcintyre on December 17, 2008 at 5:46 pm

According to an article dated 12/3/36 in the Woodland Democrat, work was started on the Fortuna at that time to replace another theater that was at the same address. That theater was destroyed in a fire in late November 1936.

kencmcintyre on May 3, 2008 at 5:10 pm

This 1940s photo is admittedly lacking as far as the Fortuna is concerned, but it is an interesting view of Main Street at that time:

suninmyhair on March 7, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Gee buckyclown….I think your comment is pretty harsh…..
I just watched WILD HOGS at the little old theater the other night. It was warm and comfortable. This little theater is really rather charming. Inside you can see pictures of movie theater staff from times past in costumes that had to do with the feature movies theme.You have to step down a couple of steps to into the restrooms that are guarded by nice old railing. They even still have the original “occupied” door latches on the bathrooms. I would say that even for a theater that hasn’t had tons of money put into it, this little theater is in pretty good shape. It could probably use a good scrub,and some new paint, otherwise i think its fine. Fortuna is a town of 10,000. I can’t imagine that this little theater is a big money draw, since Eureka about 20 miles away has 2 big theaters.It does manage to still keep young and old alike happy within the community. I would think this little theater is kept open out of love for the community not for the income potential. In fact I think this little theater is in as good of shape as it is because of being located in a nice little community. It seems to me that there should be some sort of local antiquity(?) loans or grants available to refurbish great little theaters such as this one, so that they can keep up to code and keep the doors open. If ever in town I will buy the popcorn……..which doesnt come in bags….its popped fresh and is always hot. :))

kencmcintyre on February 22, 2007 at 5:12 pm

Close call in September 1952:

$400,000 Loss At Fortuna As Fire Razes Business Block

Fortunans today looked over the smoldering embers of the most disastrous blaze in the history of the Eel River Valley community, a fire that last night burned almost an entire block of business houses and caused an estimated $100,000 damages. But for assistance from every fire department in the radius of thirty miles, including equipment from Loleta, Ferndale, Scotia, Eureka, Arcata and Humboldt District No. 1, the flames could easily have wiped out most of the Fortuna business district. Biggest loss was the Fortuna Construction Company owned by Robert and James Loudon. Other business houses destroyed was the Wyckoff Plumbing Company, the Stewart and Cloney public accountants firm owned by Arthur Stewart and Frank Cloney and the Harbers Insurance Company offices operated by Otto and Gerald Harbers. Loss in buildings amounted to an estimated $100,000. Loss of stock in buildings was put at $300,000.

The Fortuna Theater, in the same block, was saved from the flames by brilliant work. A crew worked continually on the roof of the theater. About 100 patrons of the theater filed out in an orderly manner at the first alarm. The front of the theater and walls were scorched. The theater is built with concrete walls.

James Colburn
James Colburn on September 9, 2004 at 7:23 pm

Where can you get great neon work like this? Anyone know of a shop that does great work?

buckyclown on December 25, 2002 at 4:25 pm

Restored is a very kind word to use. I watched as the ceilings, once painted with cherubs and nymphs were covered with sheet rock and painted black! The theater did not have a balcony, but rather a “loge”. The viewing rooms hacked out of this area are little better than a dark living room. I give them credit for saving the lights, the classic doors (moved to another area of the theater) and the ticket booth, but these are only a small part of what was a great theater in need of care from someone who understood the value of old theaters. There is little left to call a treasure.

bobkoch on November 5, 2002 at 9:25 pm

Bill David was the architect on this one.